If you have the fortune or necessity to find yourself in Southern California between late December and April, whale watching is a fun, inexpensive way to spend a morning or afternoon. There are many places that offer whale-watching cruises, and in this article I will tell you about some of them and why Southern California offers a unique place to whale watch. First, let’s look at why the whales are there to watch!
The gray whale is one of the most majestic animals to swim the oceans of the world. Adults weigh in between 30 and 40 tons and can reach 46 feet in length. Traveling from 10 to 14 thousand miles, round trip, they make one of the longest migrations of any mammal in the world. They do this annually, traveling from their feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to their breeding grounds in the warm waters of Baja California, in Mexico. Because they travel close to the coastline, whale watchers get many opportunities to see their passage.
The whale watch season in Southern California begins approximately at Christmas time and runs through the end of April. Whale watch cruises run daily through the entire season, and there are a number of marinas that conduct them. There are cruises conducted out of the Marina Del Rey marina, Redondo Beach marina, Newport Beach marina and the Long Beach marina on Rainbow Harbor. These are just a few locations that offer whale watch cruises, and remember, the marinas themselves offer a wide variety of fun, family-oriented things to do.
Taking a whale watch cruise is an event of a lifetime. The smell of the sea, the sounds of the water, and being on a small boat combines to make it an adventure that will be remembered forever. The cruises are inexpensive, usually between 15 to 25 dollars for adults with reduced fares for children and groups, and last for a few hours. Some cruises offer lecturers from the American Cetacean Society; knowledgeable educators who are there to narrate and answer any questions you may have about the gray whales you see.
On your cruise, you are also likely to see a wide variety of other marine mammals, including dolphins, porpoises, and sea lions. The dolphins in particular are often very friendly as they are used to seeing your cruise ship and will even occasionally provide their own guided tour! In addition, you will have the chance to see many different species of water birds. Because of the time of year that tours are conducted, you will want to dress warmly, with rubber-soled shoes for traction on the boat deck. Remember, it’s winter, the Pacific is cold, and so is the wind! With that in mind, you will be prepared for a truly unique experience, cruising on a whale watch in Southern California!
Source: American Cetacean Society http://www.acsonline.org
Source: The Daily Breeze http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_14066389